Dpolitical life in Bulgaria is otherwise relatively turbulent, but on Wednesday events unfolded at a rate remarkable for the Balkan state: in the morning, former Prime Minister and current opposition leader Boyko Borissov appeared before journalists and made a much-watched statement. It concerned a Bulgarian veto (dating back to Borisov) against the opening of EU accession talks with Northern Macedonia, with which Sofia had recently virtually paralyzed the European Union’s enlargement policy. Borissov surprisingly announced that his party would vote in parliament to lift the veto if Prime Minister Kyrill Petkov called for such a vote. European unity is more important, Borisov said.
However, the same Borisov who chose such state words had long known that the prime minister to whom he addressed his request was only the head of government on call. Borissov’s Citizens for European Development party in Bulgaria was the driving force behind the vote of no confidence in Petkov’s government, which was voted on in parliament on the same day, just a few hours later. The result: Petkov’s fall. In the parliament, which has a total of 240 members, 123 deputies voted in favor in the early evening. This means that Petek’s government, which was formed only last year, is a thing of the past, which has been evident for a few days. This is worrying, because the four-party coalition led by Petkov could only form on the third attempt. Last year, three parliamentary elections took ten months to clarify the majority – barely half a year, as is now certain.
However, new elections in Bulgaria will not take place immediately. Bulgaria’s constitution provides for a total of three attempts to find a new majority in the current parliament. Only if all three attempts fail will the head of state, Rumen Radew, have to form an interim government that will lead the country until new elections take place. However, according to the current state of the polls, even the fourth parliamentary elections will not bring a significantly clearer majority.
The question of what Petkov’s fall means for Borissov’s announcement that he will support the lifting of the Bulgarian veto against the opening of accession talks with Northern Macedonia to the EU is also open. It cannot be ruled out that there will be a majority in parliament in a short time, perhaps on Thursday. But there is nothing reliable in Bulgaria at the moment, as Wednesday’s turbulent events have shown.